The Best Laid Plans

by Ken Miller


By Ken Miller

NEWS RELEASE: "At Random Research Inc.'s Office of Serendipity Systems in Eureka, Kansas an uncertain number of tests were run using no experimental design whatsoever with a variety of unrelated reagents to see what the hell would happen."

Dr. Chance Bodewell, Chief Serendipidist, released the following statement: "The results were better than we expected, although we really didn't know what to expect. And we will conduct replicate tests as soon as we find out what we did."


"Hello, Random Research, Amelia Airhead speaking. What? Oh that's wonderful! Those are fantastic results, Mr. Happenstance.

"Uh, did you do this on purpose? No? That's great! I'm sure Dr. Bodewell will be very pleased. I'll have him call you as soon as he finds his way back to the office."

Meanwhile, in one of the laboratories, Dr. Chance Bodewell is discussing some research techniques with his rotund but inarticulate technician, Lethe "Doc" DeJavu.

"You stupid, fat-ass son of a bitch! You really fucked up this time. How the hell did it just slip out of your hands? Goddammit! Clean up this fuckin' mess before...."

"Whoa!" Bodewell said, interrupting his vilification of DeJavu. "Look at all these chemicals and other shit up here on the shelf. Goddammit, some of these bottles haven't even been opened yet. Throw some of this red shit in a beaker; add some of this green shit. Try stirrin' it, heat it. If that doesn't work, shake it, freeze it. Jesus Christ, man, stop thinking and get to work!

DeJavu winced, his tiny eyes nearly hidden in the folds of his corpulent face. "Fuck you," he mumbled. "I'm doin' the best I ca."

"Fuck me is it, you incompetent piece of shit!" Bodewell screamed as he grabbed a flask off the shelf and smashed it across the slate-topped lab bench. "Try me," he snarled. "Just try me andand, uhand, umyou'll never get your Junior Serendipitist rating!"

DeJavu's florid face blanched at the threat. His anger faded into a look of remorse. He said humbly, his eyes fixed on the floor, "Should I go ahead and have the shiuh, stuff analyzed anyway?"

"Ah, fuck it. Yeah, might as well. Go ahead. Mop the shit up and take it over to Analysis. What the hell difference does it make anyway."

Bodewell was thinking that he had to do something. Colonel Rabid Foamer, the Research Director of Serendipity Systems, really chewed his ass out good last week, right there in front of Amelia Airhead and Doc DeJavu. He was humiliatedand terrified. He hated and feared Colonel Foamer. Foamer ran this outfit like it was his private little army. Bodewell genuinely believed that the Colonel would take him out and have him shot if he didn't discover something soon.

Oh sure, the big lab fire last week was impressive. But, hell, fire had already been invented. Sure, they had found a new way to start one, but still....

It was three days later when DeJavu, clutching a sheaf of papers between his sausage-like fingers, tapped lightly on Bodewell's office door.

Bodewell called out, "Come in, DJ."

Chance Bodewell was sitting at his desk, apparently reading some reports, while Amelia Airhead trimmed his sparse hair with an enormous pair of barber's shears. He waved her away as he turned toward DeJavu.

"What've you got there, DJ?"

"Uh, y'know, uh, reports n'at. Whatchamacallit, analysises," DeJavu mumbled, distracted. He couldn't take his eyes off Amelia's firm round buttocks as she bent over to sweep up the few hairs that were scattered on the office carpet.

"Well," said Bodewell. "How do they look?"

"Ooooh, beautiful," DeJavu moaned.

"No, I mean the goddamned analyses, you fucking idiot!"

"Oh, uh.... They look good, too.... Uh, I mean they look good.... especially the one I fu...the one from the floor. Maybe the sweepin' compound, the floor wax or somethin'....

"No shit," Bodewell said. "Well, son of a bitch, maybe I've discovered something here."

He turned toward Amelia, who was now looking at him adoringly, "Call Colonel Foamer and tell him I'm on my way over with some great news. Tell him I've got a 'breakthrough.'"

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